Having got around to bolting the new tube bender stand to the floor, it was time to get back on the Special and create the tubular frames for the body work. But first I had to assemble the machine and then work out how to use it.
This took me over an hour - I'm a simple fellow after all - and following the instructions wasn't as successful as looking at the pictures. I got there in the end and created my 90° bend template.
The accuracy of the gauge was impressive. Taking the bend to roughly 93° to allow for the bounce back seemed to be the trick.
The quality of the bend was equally noteworthy with perhaps only about ½ a thou's shrinkage on the inside face - almost invisible to the eye.
Using the buck as a template, I made the first hoop. At the 90° bend on the lower right, in order to get the left-hand bend in the right place and not understanding the maths, I could only guess at the allowance and accept that I had to get it wrong in order to work out how to get it right. It was a case of suck it and see. In the end I was only 2" short which told me where to place the tube in the bender for the left-hand side. I let in a 2" piece on the right to get things lined up again.
Buoyed by this success, I set about the second hoop and in my enthusiasm didn't notice that the guessing stick was leading me astray. Well, to be honest it was my calculation skills that landed me with a tube 900mm too short! I cut and bent separately the two very slightly obtuse angles on the bottom and welded them on.
I'm extremely pleased with the newly powder-coated wheel rims. With the black tyres, a nickel-plated hubcap and maybe the body colour applied as an embellishment to the inner portion of the cap, they'll be splendid. Equally, leaving the hubcap off will give the car a racy look.
Talking of which, I had a ride in Learned Counsel's son's Lotus Elise. With the roof off it was a simple task to get in, otherwise it might have been as challenging as the Europa. We whizzed off down our lane and on to the main road. At around 750Kg and 120BHP, it was no slouch, and it went around the roundabouts under power almost at the breakaway point, as if on rails. A trip to the coast some 50 miles away, might though prove tiresome, especially if taking the country route.
In order to boost his engine's performance, Mr Laken has been busy creating these lozenge-shaped mods for his 6/80 engine's piston crowns.
The standard compression ratio is 6.6:1 and I think Mr Laken is hoping to achieve something in the region of 7.5:1. What effect the extra mass will have over time on the big ends, remains to be seen.
The tappet slippers are now complete, but he's holding off on those for a spell.